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MacFixer, the iPhone, iPod, and iPad specialists
Holux GM-210 GPS Receiver
28th September 2003

Review by Dave Burrows

Price £109 inc VAT (excl cable), £119 with cable

  

Introduction

Holux are no new comer to the GPS Market. Holux currently operate out of Taiwan, and also have a UK presence at Holux-UK.com. Holux have a complete range of GPS Receivers available for the consumer market ranging from GPS mouse, to Compact Flash, to the new XTrac CF Ultra and even dedicated handheld GPS Receivers.

We will be reviewing the Holux GM-210 here. If you're a regular to the website you'll notice we do already have a GM-210 review from one of our readers, but many of you who follow the website have asked for Pocket GPS to test the Holux GM-210, so here it is!

The Holux GM-210 sports SBAS (EGNOS/WAAS), a Sirf II chipset with a cold start of less than 45 seconds on average. The update rate is 1 second continuous and comes in a variety of different connectors including a Serial, USB, Compaq iPAQ 31, 36, 37 series, 38, 39, 54, 22 series, Mitac Mio528, NEC MobilePro 200, 300, Packard Bell 2030, 2060, Medion, Casio E115, E125, HP Jornada 540, 560, Palm M500 Series, Palm Tungsten T, Palm Vx, Sony Clie N & S, Sony Clie T, NR, SL, SJ, NX, NZ, Toshiba e740, O2 XDA, T-Mobile MDA, and the Fuji Siemens Pocket Loox. Quite an impressive cable set! What's more, the cables are much cheaper than most other competitive GPS Receivers, with the average cable set being £10.99 where as other competitor GPS Receiver cables are usually around £19.99!

The retail box includes the GPS Receiver, CD, windscreen suction cup for the cable, and a charger/power lead which will charge your Pocket PC and power the GPS Receiver at the same time.

The Holux GM-210 is very similar to other GPS Receivers like the Leadtek 9531, it's a square receiver that sits on your dashboard. One of the main differences with the Holux GM-210 is it's a lot smaller and lighter than other competing GPS Receivers which allows you to hide the GPS receiver more easily.

 

The base of the Holux GM-210 (pictured left) shows a silver finish.  The base is magnetic which means you can place this outside the car on the roof if you experiencing signal problems in-car, and it's waterproof!

Straight out of the box without knowing the baud rate of the GM-210, I connected it to an iPAQ 2210, setup the Baud Rate as 4800 (usually the default for most cabled GPS Receivers), set it to use NMEA on COM1 (for cabled receivers) and hey presto, it started to receive a signal straight away and obtained it's first fix in just under a minute.

One thing I do like about the Holux GM-210 is the cable isn't coiled like most GPS cables. It's just a straight cable, which makes it much easier to conceal this around the door seal in the car or even under a mat, where as a coiled cable is nearly impossible to conceal.

 

 

The Holux GM-210 connects both the accessory plug that plugs into your car power source, and the GPS cable together with a PS/2 Plug/Socket combination like above.

  

One thing to bear in mind is the footprint of a GPS Receiver.  If it's going to sit on the dashboard, it's going to be shown to a lot of people, including car thieves.  The smaller the GPS, the closer you can tuck it away under one of the window pillars and blend it in with the dashboard of the car.  This is where the Holux GM-210 comes in handy, the foot print of the Holux GM-210 is much smaller than a lot of GPS Receivers allowing you to hide it easily.

 

 

 

 

 

Technical Specification

  Acquisition time:
Warm start: < 38 seconds.
Cold start: < 45 seconds.
Hot start: < 8seconds.

Update rate:
1 second continuous.

Accuracy:
Position: 5 - 25m CEP.
Velocity: 0.1m/s.
Time +- 1us.

Altitude:
Velocity: 515m/s.
Acceleration: +- 4G.
Interface:
PS/2 style to connect with different VersAdapters.
NMEA or SiRF output
 
Antenna:
Built-in patch type.

Power:
GM-210-99: 6-30VDC, 0.75W.
GM-210PS: 5VDC, 0.75W.

Temperature:
Operating: 0C ~ 60C.
Storage: -40C ~ 85C.
 

 

Problems experienced with the Receiver

There were no specific problems that I detected with the receiver.  In-fact, the only problem I do have about the GPS is the cable.  The accessory plug end not only connects up with the GPS Receiver via a PS/2 plug/socket (which is okay), but it has a shorter PDA connector cable coming off of this Y splitter cable which plugs into your PDA. Unfortunately this cable can be a little too short on some models of PDA. After speaking with Holux-UK, we were told that the iPAQ cables are a little short, but some of the PDA cables are quite long with the Dell cables coming in at up to 15 inches. The size of the iPAQ cable did make it harder to conceal the complete cable. Other than that, the Holux GM-210 is a good all round GPS, performance wise the GPS behaves very well, most packages tend to prefer using NMEA over SiRF and NMEA 4800 works extremely well. We didn't witness any drop outs in fixes under normal driving or light foliage.
 

Performance and Time To First Fix Tests

Performance wise, I always experienced around 7-9 sats in testing, the signal didn't drop too much under heavy foliage, and the Holux GM-210 never lost a fix, which was good to see.  The Time To First Fixes with the Holux GM-210 were very respectable.  The slowest times we experienced from cold was 42 seconds, and the fastest cold time 35 seconds, making this an extremely good GPS Receiver.  For a complete comparison of TTFF tests between all the GPS Receivers we have tested, check out our TTFF Comparisons table.

 

Reader Review

Back in September 2002 one of our frequent visitor's and readers of the website Peter Scoular (TheBoyGrouncho) reviewed the Holux GM-210 for us after he purchased it in September 2002. 

 

If you would like to read a review from a non Pocket GPS Staff Member to see how the Holux GM-210 weighs up from a user perspective, then please check out Peter Scoular's Review, don't just take our word for it!


Summary

The Holux GM-210 is a very good cabled GPS Receiver that not only does the job well, but is very small too!  It sits on the dashboard, hidden away and also has been coloured gray to fit in with most dashboard colours.  Performance wise you can't fault the Holux GM-210, the only downside of this GPS Receiver is the cable that runs off the Y Splitter to the PDA as this is a little short, which does mean concealing the cable in-car a little problematic.  Another thing to remember is not all GPS Mouse Receivers are waterproof, but the GM-210 is, adding extra value to the money you're spending, so if you do have signal problems in-car, just strap it to the roof of your car!  When we have to resort to dislikes in the length of the cable to the PDA, you know you won't have any issues with the GPS Receiver itself if that's all we can find to complain about!

 

Conclusion  
Manufacturers Website http://www.holux-uk.com
Pocket GPS Reviewer Dave Burrows
Pocket GPS Reviewer Website http://www.daveburrows.com
   
Rating  
Construction
Installation
Usability
Robustness
   
Overall Rating 97.5%

 

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